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Major biodiversity reports soon to reveal consequential state of decline

Series of reports and U.N. meetings to address latest findings on biodiversity loss

Landscape News will be reporting on the WWF Living Planet report, the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, the Local Biodiversity Outlook 2 and the U.N. Biodiversity Conference. Check back for full coverage, and hear more from leading biodiversity experts at the Global Landscapes Forum Biodiversity Digital Conference.

The precarious state of the planet’s biodiversity and the massive threats it faces are coming under an intense spotlight in the next two weeks amid the release of multiple reports, warnings, prescriptions for change as well as historic meetings.

For the first time in its 75-year history, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will meet almost entirely online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning 15 September, UNGA will review progress and roadblocks in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Those discussions will likely be informed by this week’s extensive report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), examining the impacts of human actions on the decline of biodiversity, from deforestation and degradation of landscapes to overuse of natural resources and habitat destruction. The WWF’s flagship Living Planet Report 2020 is expected to provoke widespread interest in its release Thursday, 10 September.

The interconnectivity among species and their environments is critically important and failures to understand and protect this biodiversity can have dramatic and unanticipated results, says Stuart Butchart, chief scientist at BirdLife International.

“Each species plays a unique role in the ecological community in which it is found… the depletion of populations of species, or their extinction, has knock-on consequences for the rest of the community, often in ways that we cannot predict,” Butchart says.

Meanwhile, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is set to release its Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) on 15 September. The GBO’s sister publication, the Local Biodiversity Outlook 2, examining the vital important role of indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting biodiversity, will be released the following day. Both are being made public just ahead of the CBD’s biodiversity summit on 30 September, which will emphasize the importance of biodiversity in achieving the SDGs, while aiming to elevate awareness of a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the CBD, recently warned that the SDGs “will fail without urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development” and noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “amplified” the vital role of nature in achieving human health and well-being.

The CBD has been preparing a new set of biodiversity targets to replace the 20 goals set out in the Aichi accord, which was signed in Nagoya, Japan, 10 years ago and expires this year. A summit slated for next month in Kunming, China, has been rescheduled for May 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.



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